QC of Lidar Data

The Lidar Module provides a number of tools for Quality Control of LiDAR point cloud data. This includes tools to compare or correct the height of point cloud data to known control points, and report statistics of subsets of points. It also includes tools for displaying and reporting the point cloud density, and filtering the point cloud by density.

LiDAR QC - Compare/ Adjust Elevations to Control Points

The LiDAR QC tool compares control points to nearby LiDAR points. It can also use the control points to adjust the LiDAR elevations to fit the control points.

The calculation uses inverse distance weighting (IDW) of the control points to calculate the expected Z value of the nearby LiDAR points. Nearby LiDAR points are defined as those within 5 point spacings (calculated from the point cloud and visible in metadata), with a minimum nearby distance of .5 meters and a maximum of 5 meters.

The tool will display a list of the input control points, with statistics comparing to the nearby LiDAR points. The calculated statistic does not include LiDAR points that have been filtered to be non visible.


RMSE - The root mean square error is a measure of the difference between the expected elevation from the control points, and to measured Lidar values.

LIDAR_ELEV - Average elevation of the nearby Lidar points

ELEV_DIFF_ABS_M - Absolute elevation difference between Lidar and control points in meters.

ELEV_DIFF_M - Difference in elevation between lidar and control points in meters.

LIDAR_POINT_COUNT - The number of nearby lidar points being compared to the control point. This is the number found within 5 point spacings of the control point, with a minimum search distance of .5 meters and a maximum of 5 meters.

Overall RMSE is reported at the bottom of the dialog.

Found Nearby Match indicated the number of control points that had nearby LiDAR points for comparison.

Export to CSV File

Select this option to save a CSV file of the Feature Information report. This will include the overall RMSE report and number of matches at the bottom.

Copy to Clipboard

Select this option to copy the Feature Information report to the windows clipboard to paste in a text editing application. This will be a comma separated list, including the overall RMSE report and number of matches at the bottom.

Fit Lidar to Control Points

Select the Fit Lidar to Control Points button to rectify the entire point cloud to match the control point elevations. This vertical rectification applies to the entire layer, including points that may be filtered to be non-visible.

Additional LiDAR QA tools

Lidar Metadata and Statistics

In the control center, right click on the LiDAR point cloud and choose metadata to see metadata as well as calculated statistics from the point cloud.


Some of the available metadata values for point clouds include:


The statistics tab of the metadata dialog displays a summary of the Attributes, Return counts, and Classification Codes.

Display Lidar statistics for selected Lidar points

To see the statistics for a subset of points, select the points with the digitizer tool. In the digitizer right-click context menu choose Analysis/Measurement > Display Statistics for Selected Lidar Points. This will display a Lidar Dataset Properties window indicating a summary of the Returns, Attributes and Classification codes for the selected points.

Color Lidar by Point Density

Color points using calculated point density. The point density is calculated based on the full point cloud loaded in the layer. To visualize the point density for a particular classification, the subset of points must be loaded or copied to a new layer.

Filter Lidar data by Point Density, Scan Angle, Elevation, Height Above Ground

The lidar advanced selection options provide an option to select lidar data by point density value. The point density and height above ground values are calculated based on all points in the layer. Scan Angle and Elevation values are attributes of the point file. These advanced filtering option can be applied to refine a selection of point features while editing with the digitizer tool.

Search and Query points

The Search Vector Data tool may be used to query lidar data. With large point clouds, it is recommended to use the 'Search Onscreen Features Only' setting to limit the results to only visible points.

Report Statistics for Point Attributes

The Search Vector Data tool may be used to report statistics of numeric point attributes, by right clicking on a numeric value in the search results and choosing STATS- Report Statistics for Values of Attribute. The resulting dialog will include the Minimum, Maximum, Average, Standard Deviation and Sum of the attribute values in that column, for the current listed search results.